There’s one way to make the inevitable Surface Phone an instant success.
- February 21, 2018 12:00PM EST
Microsoft is doing its best to convince people it is out of the phone business. However, a handful of tech writers and pundits suspect Microsoft will introduce a Surface Phone sometime soon.
Microsoft recently announced an end for support of old Windows Phones. Everything having to do with the phone, including its useful “find my phone” feature, will be kaput. Get over it and move on, Redmond seems to be saying.
Don’t roll your eyes, but I think this is all proof that Microsoft has a Surface Phone waiting in the wings.
First of all, Microsoft has to be prominent in the phone market because that’s where the action is. It has tried and failed several times, first with smartphone games, then with Windows Phone. Third time’s the charm?
The demise of the current Windows Phone is simply Microsoft’s effort to move on. It cannot afford to have a bunch of Windows Phone users demanding upgrades or replacement phones.
Microsoft should swap out remaining Windows phones with Surface phones. It tells users that you never lose when you pick a Microsoft product, and it would seed the new phone into the market overnight.
Somewhere along the line, Microsoft lost both these simple marketing skills. For example, I could never get a Windows Phone review unit from Microsoft. Few others did either. But if the company announced a 1:1 swap for an “upcoming new product,” that would start a buzz. When is the last time you ever heard any real advance buzz for anything Microsoft was doing? The latest thing in the wind is Office 2019 and how it will be the last standalone, cloudless version you will ever be allowed to buy. What kind of buzz is that?
It’s possible I’m completely off-base. Maybe the company will just give up on the booming mobile market because it cannot compete. A weird choice, but not impossible.
My current inclination, which helps explain these announcements regarding the Windows Phone, is that Microsoft will pull a rabbit out of a hat and go back to its tradition of “embrace and extend” via the most powerful marketing tool it ever developed: technology licenses.
In this case, it would mean taking out an Android license and adding special Windows features to the UI, offering the Windows experience plus access to Android apps. With that, you might witness a line outside a Microsoft Store. Wouldn’t that be something?